Charter Board Partners announced yesterday that it is expanding to Washington State. I interviewed the founders of CBP, Carrie Irvin and Simmons Lettre, last November during which they announced plans to open offices in cities across the United States. The effort is being supported by a $500,000 grant from the Gates Foundation, funds that will also be used to create a national membership program available to charter school boards wherever they are located. The growth of Charter Board Partners is also being backed by the NewSchools Venture Fund and the Walton Family Foundation.
The timing of this news could not be better. Washington State voters gave the green light to legislation allowing the formation of charters just over a year ago. Within the last seven days the first charter school was approved, and 12 other applications will be considered next Thursday. Can you imagine the learning curve for this local movement and their governing boards?
The growth of charter schools in America has been explosive. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools estimates that 2.5 million children this school year will receive their education in a charter. This statistic represents an 100 percent increase since only the 2008 to 2009 term. With so many students and families now taking advantage of these alternative schools it will become crucial that they demonstrate they are worth the financial investment. Charter Board Partners, by strengthening the governance of these non-profits, is making a significant contribution to proving their value in raising academic achievement. Now the only question is whether Friends of Choice in Urban Schools will follow CBP's lead in providing public policy support wherever these schools are found?